Dayton school board members clash over decision to buy or lease buses

Published: Monday, March 20, 2017 @ 6:26 PM
Updated: Monday, March 20, 2017 @ 6:56 PM


            A Dayton Public Schools bus. STAFF
A Dayton Public Schools bus. STAFF

A Dayton Public Schools finance committee meeting Monday evening got heated after members disagreed about how many new school buses to acquire and how to pay for them.

Finance committee Chair Joe Lacey decided to step away as chair for this issue, because he disagrees with the committee’s recommendation to buy or lease as many as 115 school buses.

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“I don’t agree with the position that the finance committee is taking,” the school board member said.

But board member Adil Baguirov said it makes much more sense to lease or finance 110 to 115 new buses. He said this will remedy safety risks and will be a better deal for taxpayers.

“I am a proponent of using the power of financing or leasing to afford a lot of buses at once,” he said. “We have a very old fleet of buses.”

The finance committee proposes leasing or financing 110 to 115 buses, instead of buying 30 new buses, which was the district’s original plan. The district has 200 buses, which have an average age of 14 years old.

MORE: Busing problems plague Dayton schools

The district’s oldest bus is 27 years old.

The district budgeted $2.6 million for 2016-2017 to buy new school buses. The district would be able to acquire about 30 new buses.

But Baguirov said it is cheaper and more advantageous to finance 115 buses at once, instead of replacing 30 buses each year.

Depending on what financing option the board chooses, he said, the annual cost to the district could be between $1.1 million to $2.1 million.

The length of financing period could be five to 10 years. Baguirov said the cost of new school buses is expected to increase significantly in coming years, so this would be a wise long-term investment.

Lacey said he disagrees with this approach and asked to step aside as chair of the finance committee when this proposal is introduced.

The chair of the finance committee must present the resolution to the full board.

“I am not advocating for this, because I think I’ll vote against it,” he said. “I think it’s too many — I don’t think we need 115 buses.”

Lacey said he also does not think it is wise to commit the district to such a sizable purchase at this time.

He said the proposal is an overreaction to news coverage and complaints about the condition, age and other concerns about the buses.

Company moves to begin construction on marijuana lab in Yellow Springs

Published: Thursday, December 14, 2017 @ 12:07 PM

Yellow Springs Cresco Labs groundbreaking for first medical marijuana plant

The village of Yellow Springs is among the first Ohio communities to see the beginning of construction on a medical marijuana facility, and while officials are excited about the new business, it’s unclear how the industry could be impacted if Ohio voters approve of recreational use of the drug in November.

RELATED: Springfield, Yellow Springs to get large marijuana growing operations

Cresco Labs Ohio LLC and several village leaders and residents gathered for the groundbreaking on a cold Thursday morning in the cornfield next to Antioch University.

“This is a long time in the making, actually getting this property developed, but more importantly the group that’s going to be developing here is Cresco Labs out of Illinois,” Village Council President Karen Wintrow told the crowd. “

RELATED: Medical marijuana grow site in Clark County on state application list

Cresco Labs Ohio LLC and several village leaders and residents gathered for the groundbreaking on a cold Thursday morning in the cornfield next to Antioch University.

“This is a long time in the making, actually getting this property developed, but more importantly the group that’s going to be developing here is Cresco Labs out of Illinois,” Village Council President Karen Wintrow told the crowd. “

We are covering the ground breaking and will update this story as more information becomes available.

Cresco Labs Ohio LLC and several village leaders and residents gathered for the groundbreaking on a cold Thursday morning in the cornfield next to Antioch University.

“This is a long time in the making, actually getting this property developed, but more importantly the group that’s going to be developing here is Cresco Labs out of Illinois,” Village Council President Karen Wintrow told the crowd. “

They’ve been great partners so far in working with us … It’s going to be a great economic development opportunity. Jobs for the community, a lot of recognition. We just couldn’t be happier.”

Wintrow said the facility is expected to initially provide about 25 jobs for local residents, and that number could double as Cresco plans to seek approval for a medical marijuana processing facility at the same site.

“Yellow Springs was founded on wellness,” Wintrow said. “People came to the yellow spring in Glen Helen for the healing waters so the idea of a wellness company, a health company, being here is a perfect fit. This facility is going to be sitting adjacent to farm fields in an area that we have really identified that we want to remain agriculture.”

There are more than 20 acres still to be developed at the site. Cresco has agreed to pay for the infrastructure to the site, which includes building roads, installing water, sewer and electric service, said Village Manager Patti Bates.

In June, village officials visited Cresco’s facilities in Illinois. Bates said seeing how Cresco operates allayed any concerns they had regarding the security of the facility to be built off East Enon Road.

“It’s an amazing building they have and the way that they run the different agents of the plant in different sections of the building, it’s pretty impressive,” Bates said.

Charles Bachtell, CEO of Cresco Labs, told the crowd it’s “a big day” for the patients of Ohio, for Yellow Springs and for Cresco Labs.

“The Ohio medical marijuana program is arguably one of the most balanced and best-structured programs that this industry has seen,” Bachtell said. “They did a phenomenal job in taking a look at existing markets around the country that do true medical marijuana programs really well. They took some of the best parts from each of them and they tweaked some of the parts that may have neededa little redoing.”

Not being from Ohio, Bechtell said Cresco officials were not aware of the history of Yellow Springs and its reputation as being a progressive community.

“At the end of the day this program exists for one purpose — To bring a new type of medicine to patients in the state of Ohio,” he said.

Those who were the driving force behind the failed 2015 marijuana legalization issue in Ohio are now backing a plan to put an issue on the November ballot that, if approved by the voters, would make marijuana legal for recreational use.

Bachtell said it’s not clear how his business could be impacted if Ohio voters approve a ballot issue in November that would make marijuana legal for recreational use in the state.

“Honestly we haven’t given it much thought,” he said. “We are a medical cannabis operator and currently we operate only in medical programs. We’ve evaluated Ohio for about a year as a medical program so that’s what we’re focused on right now.”

Michael Ferguson, a military veteran and lifelong Yellow Springs resident, said he is trying to educate fellow veterans about the process of getting access to medical marijuana.

Ferguson said veterans can get a prescription for it through a doctor outside of the VA healthcare system. Ferguson said he’s in favor of making marijuana legal for recreational use, in-part because it would eliminate the problem of drug testing while in a chronic pain program.

“If a veteran takes cannabis for pain and gets drug-tested, then they can take away all his medications,” Ferguson said.

Another veteran, John Helpling, attended the event. Helpling said he’s spent 21 years in the military and served during Desert Shield, Desert Storm as well as Operation Iraqi Freedom. He said now suffers from peripheral myopathy, a painful condition of nerve damage as a result of the surgery he had done on his back.

Helpling said he suffers from chronic pain and the nerve pills he’s been prescribed don’t do enough to ease the pain.

“It’s like a Catch 22 situation right now,” he said. “Medical marijuana is legalized but they say you’re supposed to have an authorized recommendation from a doctor.”

Helpling said he’s not willing to risk getting marijuana from the “black market.”

“You can find it easily, but it’s all black market,” he said. “It’s not regulated. It’s not controlled for purity or quality, and you don’t know what they might mix into it or spray on it. Anything off the street is bad news. I stay away from all that.”

Net neutrality vote: FCC OKs repeal of Obama-era rules

Published: Thursday, December 14, 2017 @ 1:16 PM
Updated: Thursday, December 14, 2017 @ 1:21 PM

Understanding Net Neutrality

The Federal Communications Commission voted 3-2 on Thursday to repeal Obama-era net neutrality rules meant to stop broadband companies from exercising more control over what people watch and see on the internet.

>> Read more trending news

FCC Chairman Ajit Pai, who put forth the planned repeal and voted in favor of it Thursday, said it “certainly wasn’t heavy-handed government regulation” that made the internet the “greatest free-market innovation in history.” 

>> Related: State attorneys general ask FCC to delay net neutrality vote

“Quite simply, we are restoring the light-touch framework that has governed the internet for most of its existence,” he said.

Keowee Street bridge closing delayed

Published: Thursday, December 14, 2017 @ 2:19 PM


            An artist’s rendering depicts the new Keowee Street bridge over the Great Miami River. SUBMITTED
An artist’s rendering depicts the new Keowee Street bridge over the Great Miami River. SUBMITTED

Closing of the Keowee Street bridge in Dayton so that work can begin on replacing it has been delayed until January, according to a release from Montgomery County officials.

RELATED: City plans opening of new $6 million Helena Street bridge

The bridge had initially been expected to close Monday.

The Keowee Street bridge closing is dependent upon the reopening of the Helena Street bridge.

A ceremony to commemorate the reopening of the Helena Street Bridge is scheduled for today, but opening to traffic will be delayed until next week. No specific date has been provided.

MORE: County’s highest property values? Washington Twp. now tops Kettering

The Keowee Street bridge is providing a detour route for the Helena Street bridge and will now close on Jan. 2, according to the county.

Fire claims male’s life in New Miami

Published: Thursday, December 14, 2017 @ 8:40 AM
Updated: Thursday, December 14, 2017 @ 10:48 AM

New Miami Fatal House Fire

UPDATE @ 10:20 a.m.

A frantic call was placed today by the niece of a man killed in a house fire this morning stating her was disabled in inside the ranch home.

“The house across the street is on fire,” the woman told 911 0perators. When the dispatcher asked if anyone was inside, she replied, ” Yeah, my uncle … he is disabled, he only has one leg.”

The woman said her uncle was in the bedroom.

“Just please hurry,” she said while crying.

Fatal house fire in St. Clair Township

UPDATE @ 9:20 a.m.

A male who died in a fire this morning in the New Miami was found by first responders in the front room of the residence on Tecumseh Drive, according to the Butler County Sheriff’s Office.

Preliminary investigation appears that the fire originated in the front room but the exact cause is unknown at this time. The State Fire Marshal’s Office has been called to the scene .

INITIAL REPORT

A fatal fire in New Miami has claimed the life of one person this morning, according to Butler County dispatchers.

The fire broke out on Tecumseh Drive just after 7 a.m. Thursday. Dispatchers said emergency crews are still on the scene but no other information is available.